President's Message

Southern California Weathers Storm; Safety-net Hospitals Terminated

Weathering the Storm

Over the weekend and extending into this week, California encountered record-breaking rainfall, with numerous repercussions for our member hospitals. In fact, here in downtown Los Angeles, we witnessed a remarkable rainfall event, with a recorded precipitation of 4.10 inches. This figure surpasses the previous daily record for February 4, which was 2.55 inches and set in 1927.

During periods of severe weather conditions and environmental emergencies, HASC is dedicated to ensuring the ongoing operations of our member hospitals. Whether it’s utilizing our ReddiNet emergency communication platform, orchestrating assistance from neighboring hospitals, or advocating for essential resources from governmental agencies and leaders, we stand fully prepared and ready to provide support.

CalOptima Health Terminates Four Safety-net Hospitals

In Orange County, CalOptima Health — the County Organized Health System responsible for administering the Medi-Cal managed care program serving over 25% of the county’s population —recently removed four essential safety-net hospitals from its network. This significant move, which took effect on February 5, will lead to a reduction in health care choices for approximately 940,000 residents. Consequently, this decision is expected to have a severe and adverse effect on vulnerable and underserved CalOptima members who depend on these hospitals for their health care needs.

A substantial number of individuals without stable housing and with limited income, who have depended on these institutions for care, now confront transportation challenges and will be forced to travel beyond their local communities to receive medical care — a basic need. Moreover, the anticipated impacts on the county’s emergency management system are significant. CalOptima Health members who seek urgent medical attention at these hospitals and require admission now must be transported to other health care facilities within the network. This change is also expected to result in longer ambulance waiting times and delays in providing care to patients.

HASC, on behalf of Prime Healthcare and our impacted member hospitals, attended the most recent CalOptima Health board meeting and spoke out about the detriments of this decision. Regrettably, CalOptima Health officially confirmed the termination.

We remain steadfast in our appeal to CalOptima Health to uphold its mission of delivering exceptional and dignified health care while respecting each member’s individual worth and needs. Above all, we urge the agency to continue broadening health care choices, rather than narrowing them further.